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Countdown to Friday night lights: Quad-A preview

Written by Mike White on .

One in a series previewing each classification of WPIAL football and the City League.

WPIAL CLASS AAAA

By The Numbers

Top returning statistical leaders from last season. Statistics are from regular season only:

RUSHING

Khaleke Hudson head shotKhaleke Hudson, McKeesport (pictured) - 134 attempts for 1,455 yards.

PASSING

Daniel Walters, Hempfield - 144 of 192 for 1,371 yards

RECEIVING

Nick Altavilla, Baldwin - 45 receptions for 726 yards

SCORING

Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport - 24 touchdowns for 144 points.

FAB 5

Jake Buccigrossi, North Hills, OL-DL - Already committed to play OL at West Virginia.

Damar Hamlin, Central Catholic, WR-DB - Heavily recruited DB.

Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport RB-DB - Two-way standout likes Pitt, Penn State, WVU.

Miles Sanders, Woodland Hills, RB-DB - Highly-rated RB already committed to Penn State.

Tim Vecchio, Penn-Trafford, WR-DB - Not a big-time recruit, but Veccio (pictured) just a standout high school player committed to Robert Morris.

Top 10

1. Central Catholic - Loaded with talent and college recruits. Might be preseason No. 1 Class AAAA team in the state.

2. Woodland Hills - Best RB combo in Class AAAA with Miles Sanders and Jo-El Shaw

3. Penn-Trafford - Quietly coach John Ruane is building a top-notch program.

4. North Allegheny - Don't overlook Tigers. Should have a strong running game.

5. Pine-Richland - Not as good as last year, but still formidable. Phil Jurkovec is sophomore QB who will be key.

6. McKeesport - The flexbone offense will drive the Tigers and will still drive some opponents nuts.

7. Upper St. Clair - Very big on lines. Quarterback play will be key.

8. Mt. Lebanon - 10 starters back on offense, including QB Eddie Jenkins and Villanova recruit Paul Grattan (OL).

9. Bethel Park - Some linemen return and also QB Levi Metheny, a four-year starter.

10. North Hills - QB is a question mark, but Indians feature Jake Buccigrossi, a WVU offensive line recruit.

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Vacation post - 08-25-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins forward Jamie Leach (right). A third-round pick in 1987, Leach, the son of former Flyers star Reggie Leach, spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1989-90, Leach appeared in 10 games and recorded three assists. In 1990-91, Leach played in seven games,  netted two goals and earned a Stanley Cup ring despite not appearing in a playoff game. Leach would reach career-highs in games (38) and points (nine) and had his named carved into the Stanley Cup for the team's second consecutive championships in 1991-92. After five games and no points in 1992-93, Leach was claimed off waivers by the Hartford Whalers early in the season. In 60 games with the Penguins, Leach recorded 14 points.

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Correction

Written by Rob Rogers on .

The stock market isn't the only thing causing anxiety and fear. The GOP presidential race has been pretty alarming. 

082515 Correction

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WPIAL football TV guide: No Thursday games, WPNT joins the field

Written by Mike White on .

Wondering about the "big picture" in WPIAL football this season? Here it is:

No Thursday night games, one more station will start televising games live and there will continue to be a game "On Demand."

What does that all mean? Well, here goes:

**** There has not been an official release on this yet, but Root Sports will not televise games on Thursday nights this season, like the station has in many past years. It really makes sense. With some Pirates games on Thursdays in September, and then some Penguins preseason games in the next month, Root can't do a consistent Thursday night schedule.

As stated, Root still hasn't released anything, but I'm hearing Root will start televising games on Friday nights in October when the Pirates season is over. There will be no advanced scheduling. It will be done by "flex scheduling," meaning Root will pick the best game a week or two ahead of time. Look for more info from Root in the future.

Those telecasts will continue through the playoffs and Root once again will televise the WPIAL championships Nov. 28. No word yet on the order of those games, but Root will once again run into the problem of a Penguin game that night. That means one or two of the games most likely will be on tape delay.

**** The new player to the WPIAL football TV market is WPNT (MyTV Channel 22). The station will televise a game live every Friday from around the WPIAL as part of its "Friday Night Rivals" series, even though some of the games certainly aren't rivals. No matter. It's just a title. The games give WPIAL fans a chance to see a few more games live from their TV rooms.

The first game for WPNT is Friday, Sept. 4 - Penn Hills at Upper St. Clair. That just may be the top game of the WPIAL that night.

Other games that will be televised are North Allegheny at Pine-Richland (Sept. 11), Baldwin at Mt. Lebanon (Sept. 18), Quaker Valley at Aliquippa (Sept. 25), Summit Academy at Shady Side Academy (Oct. 2), Woodland Hills at Canon-McMillan (Oct. 9), Seneca Valley at Central Catholic (Oct. 16), Moon at West Allegheny (Oct. 23) and Franklin Regional at Gateway (Oct. 30).

**** Lastly, Xfinity will once again have its "Game of the Week" package that can be seen "On Demand" starting the following day. Xfinity has yet to release a schedule of games this year.

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Talkin' Bout Practice: Aug. 24

Written by Sam Werner on .

Ladies and gentlemen, we've finally reached the last week of training camp. One week from right now, Pitt will officially be in game week preparing for the opener against Youngstown State. With that, here are a few notes and videos from today's practice.

- In his pre-practice media session, coach Pat Narduzzi said he feels like he has "a pretty good idea" about the team's depth chart following the Panthers' second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.

- We did get to see some brief 11-on-11 action in today's practice, in which freshman Jordan Whitehead got some time with the first unit. It's him, Jevonte Pitts and Pat Amara battling for time at the boundary safety position, and it seems pretty wide open at this point.

- Wide receiver Zach Challingsworth also got some time with the first team today. It'll be interesting to see how that rotation plays out. Obviously Tyler Boyd (once he returns from his one-game suspension) will be the leader, but I think Challingsworth and Elijah Zeise will both play a decent amount, plus we know that freshman Quadree Henderson will have a role as well. Narduzzi also specifically pointed to redshirt sophomore Jester Weah Monday as someone who has impressed during training camp. So Pitt really could have five (or more) guys that see time there.

- Artie Rowell still isn't practicing with the offensive line, so the first team today was Bisnowaty-Johnson-Officer-Bookser-O'Neill. At this point, it looks like the staff feels like Brian O'Neill (even though he just switched from tight end this offseason) is their sixth-best offensive lineman. Narduzzi said he doesn't expect any injured players to miss the opener, so if Rowell comes back, I'd expect him to slide back into center, with Officer moving to right guard and Bookser back to left tackle. But if Rowell can't go at any point this season, it looks like O'Neill would be the guy to step in there.
The second team offensive line we saw was Reese-Guy-Roberts-Herndon-Baker.

- Over on defense, James Folston and Zach Poker were the second team defensive ends and Narduzzi said Poker, in particular, has had a nice training camp.

- Running backs coach Andre Powell said after practice that freshman Darrin Hall will have a role in the backfield this season. That's interesting because it really shows that Hall has earned a role, rather than playing out of necessity. Pitt has plenty of depth at running back with James Conner, Chris James, Rachid Ibrahim and Qadree Ollison, but Hall has apparently earned his way on the field.
Powell didn't say specifically how many running backs he hopes to have in his rotation, but did say the ultimate goal will be keeping Conner fresher at the end of the year.
"As a coach, you've got to think past the next game," Powell said. "You've got to think about game six, keeping guys fresh. So when we get in November, we can win those critical games. James Conner got nicked up a lot last year, he took a lot of hits. If you take five carries away from him every game, leading up to November and give those carries back in November when he's healthy, you're a better football team."

- Defensive line coach Tom Sims after practice...

- And a few videos from the practice itself...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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